The Adopt and an Athlete Initiative of the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development under the administration of Mr. Sunday Dare has been given a big boost by the African Children Talent Discovery Foundation which adopted two Olympics- bound athletes.
Patience Akpan and Elizabeth Ahanacho were born adopted by the Foundation 9n Thursday during an impressive ceremony at the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development in Abuja.
According to the Minister, Mr. Sunday Dare the Adopt an Athletes initiative came to be 18 months ago after some research on what the major challenges of Nigerian Athletes have been over the years; lack of welfare and lack of support.
Since the Government cannot provide all the resources, there is need for a template that will bring about the collaboration between the private sector and the government by creating a pathway for direct funding for Nigerian Athletes.
The African Children Talent Discovery Foundation led by Engineer Noah Dallaji decided to adopt Patience George in Athletics and Elizabeth Anyanacho In Taekwondo to the tune of $10,000 each to boost their Olympics preparations.
The Minister, while commending the African Children Talent Discovery Foundation said
“The Ministry is going to use the Chairman of the Foundation Engineer Noah Dallaji as a sign post for several other Nigerians who have the capacity and resources to lift a hand in support of Nigerian Athletes not just as we go to the Olympics, but more importantly because it is the way forward for sports development.
Despite the Covid-19 outbreak that slowed down the world as well as the ryhthm with which the Adopt An Athlete Initiative kick started, I am glad that it has picked up again and as speak today we had about 14 athletes adopted and with another 2 today making 16 in a timely fashion is a big boost not just to our Athletes but to Nigerian sports development and the entirety of the sports community.
For the first time we are having Nigerians step forward to invest in our talents and support them to attain podium performances.
Therefore, I thank the African Children Talent Discovery Foundation (ACTDF) for this vision, for me it is brilliant and we hope to have a long lasting relationship with the Foundation. Sports Development is not episodal but it entails finding the talents, nurturing them and making them world beaters”
In his response, the Chairman of the African Children Talent Discovery Foundation, Engineer Noah Dallaji said “I am just meeting Patience Okon-George for the first time and that’s one of our policies, we adopt based on merit, this is the way to incorporate the young people in every country which makes them channel their energies into positive things which in turn makes the nation at large proud”
This foundation also has Nigerian sports legends such as Daniel Amokachi, Emmanuel Babayaro, Tijani Babangida amongst others.
Patience Okon-George expressed appreciation to the Honourable Minister and the Foundation for birthing the initiative, while making a commitment to keep the Nation’s flag flying for podium performances:
“I am very excited because this is what I have been longing for and I promise to make this Foundation and our great country Nigeria proud and I will do my best to get to that podium”
The money has been paid directly into the account of the athletes.
Okagbare Set New Records In Olympics Trials
Blessing Okagbare says she is ready to roll in Tokyo at the Olympics. And Nigerians believe her on the strength of her historic race at the Athletics Federation of Nigeria Olympic Trials at the Sports Complex of Yaba College of Technology in Lagos.
The 32-year-old scorched to a 10.63 seconds finish to tie Jamaican, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce time as 2021 world lead.
Okagbare says the race has given her renewed confidence of a memorable performance at the delayed 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Four years ago she didn’t make it to the final of the 100m. She has not ran in any final of the sprint events since 2015 when she raced to an 11.02 seconds finish to place eigth at the World Athletics Championship in Beijing, China.
Many local watchers of the sport erroneously thought Old Father Time had booked an appointment with the 2014 double Commonwealth Games champion, that her time was up.
Like a true Nigerian, Okagbare never let down her guard as she kept and still keeps working hard to erase that wrong perceptions, She rose from the disappointment of missing the track, her second home in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic to make a statement at the indoor season, setting two personal bests in the 60m (7.10) and 200m (23.01). That was 11 years after she last competed indoors.
Outdoors she continued from where she left off indoors, first scorching to a 53.21 personal best in the 400m. On the strength of that performance, many athletics followers believe the long legged sprinter would become the first African woman to run a sub-22 seconds in the 200m.
No one paid any attention to the 100m until the Sapele-born sprinter raced to a 10.90 seconds personal season’s best at the Wanda Diamond League meeting in Doha, Qatar in May.
Okagbare showed a glimpse of what to come at the semifinal of the event at the AFN Tokyo Olympic trials when she effortlessly ran 10.99 seconds to set a new championship record.
But not many expected she would run faster than the 10.79 seconds Nigerian record she ran in London in 2013.
Like a bolt out of the blues, Okagbare uncharacteristically stormed out of the blocks in first place and was never headed as she stopped the clock at 10.62 seconds before it was rounded up to 10.63 seconds.
History has been made in front of a supportive Youth and Sports Development Minister, Mr Sunday Dare and the new president of the AFN, Tonobock Okowa who were watching the events live at the venue.
Okagbare has made further history not only as the first woman to run a sub 11 seconds at the National championship but also the first to break 10.70 seconds.
Her scorching 10.63 seconds performance is also a new African record. Only Florence Griffith Joyner who holds the world record at 10.49 seconds has run faster.
The Nigerian has now emerged one of the favourites for the 100m gold at the Tokyo Olympics alongside Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce who first ran 10.63 seconds this season at the JOA/JAAA Olympic Destiny Series 3 meet at the National stadium in Kingston, Jamaica and Sha Carri Richardson, the 2019 NCAA 100m queen who has achieved 10.72 seconds this season.
A transparent and credible election in Abuja, NOC Deputy Secretary General
The Nigerian Olympics Committee Deputy Secretary General who also serve as the President Nigerian Archery Federation, Mr. Mohammed Abdullahi has commended the electoral process of the AFN elections.
“First and foremost, I want to commend the process that led to the election of Chief Tony Okowa. It was an election that is worthy of emulation, election that is transparent and as well fair.
I’m proud to be associated with an election where people actually have their mandate and voice.The process was timely and credible”.
The NOC Deputy General Secretary urged the board members led by Chief Tony Okowa to be steadfast, up doing and as well ensure that in this 4years athletes is moved to the next level.
“I want to congratulate and urge you that work should begin in Ernest”, NOC Deputy General concluded.
AFN: Nilayo Sports Management Limited, Bukola Olopade Congratulates Tonobok Okowa
The Chief Executive Officer of Nilayo Sports Management Limited, Hon. Bukola Olopade has congratulated Chief Tonobok Okowa on his emergence as the President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN).
Hon. Olopade noted that Chief Okowa’s emergence is capable of further strengthening and taking Athletics in Nigeria to a greater height and expressed optimism that his reign as the AFN head will be extremely fruitful.
The former Commissioner for sports in Ogun State whose Marketing company, Nilayo Sports Management Limited has its stronghold in Athletics revealed that Nilayo Sports Management Limited is looking forward to a continious synergy with the AFN particularly at a time that the maiden edition of the Ijebu Heritage Half Marathon is approaching.
“On behalf of everyone at Nilayo Sports Management Limited, I say Congratulations to Chief Tonobok Okowa, we are quite excited about his triumph, his rich CV gives us a confidence that Athletics will continue to be on the rise in Nigeria”.
“Athletics is our first love at Nilayo Sports so we are elated that a capable, intelligent and influential administrator has emerged”.
Hon. Olopade assured the new AFN boss of the unflinching support of Nilayo Sports and stressed that he’s already looking forward to an envisaged working relationship.
Nilayo Sports Management Limited are the right owners of the prestigious Access Bank Lagos City Marathon, the IAU African Championship, and the great Abeokuta 10km race among other notable sporting events in the country.
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